Found selling for $2 in a small secondhand bookstore in New England: a charming volume from 1876, titled The Monsters of the Deep.
Inside, over seventy engravings: showing everything from sea devils to sea serpents to sea wolves; from octopuses to giant squids to the Kraken; and from Neptune to Triton to Siren.
Whales and bears abound. Here, too, are monk seals and bishop seals, sun fish and moon fish, and turtles galore. No shortage of sharks here, either.
One monster is absent, however: Leviathan. Leviathan comes from the Hebrew word לִוְיָתָן (Livyatan), meaning “twisted,” “coiled,” or rather grandly, “that which gathers itself together in folds.”
The Bible (Job 41:1-34) has this to say about Leviathan:
1Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?
2Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn?
3Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee?
4Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever?
5Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens?
6Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants?
7Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears?
8Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more.
9Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him?
10None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me?
11Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.
12I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion.
13Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can come to him with his double bridle?
14Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about.
15His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.
16One is so near to another, that no air can come between them.
17They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered.
18By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.
19Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out.
20Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron.
21His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth.
22In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him.
23The flakes of his flesh are joined together: they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved.
24His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone.
25When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves.
26The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon.
27He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood.
28The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble.
29Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear.
30Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire.
31He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.
32He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary.
33Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear.
34He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.
It is said that at the end of time, the Almighty will slay Leviathan, along with the land monster Behemoth, and serve them both as food to the blessed in heaven. Small wonder then that Leviathan makes himself scarce now, while he practices his getaway.
All artwork, descriptions, & other text (except for quotations) created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.